If the thought of traveling during the holidays makes you feel more like Scrooge than Santa, you’re not alone. Holiday travel is notoriously stressful!
Between packing gifts, dealing with (ahem, interesting) family dynamics, and figuring out what to wear for Christmas dinner, traveling during the holidays can make you feel like you’re losing it. Don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be this way!
Read on for four tips on how to stay sane when traveling during the holidays.
#1 The Early Bird Gets the Worm
You aren’t the only one with holiday travel plans. The longer you wait to book your travel arrangements, the more time, money, and effort it’s going to cost you. Sure, we love a spontaneous trip as much as the next guy or gal, but during the holidays, the more you plan the better.
Booking your arrangements early is only half of the early-bird battle. Since the holidays are an extremely busy time for travel, there’s inevitably going to be more traffic on the roads and longer lines at the airport. Don’t risk missing your flight or your grandma’s famous pecan pie because you didn’t leave early enough. Trust us, you’ll be grateful when you aren’t running to the terminal or dealing with a serious case of road rage.
#2 A Budget Can Actually Reduce Your Stress
It might seem like the only thing more stressful than thinking about holiday travel is thinking about money, but think again. Oh geez, that’s a lot of thinking. But all that expended brainpower will pay off before you know it, you’ll see!
Setting and sticking to a holiday travel budget will actually reduce your yuletide anxiety. Why?
Because having a budget for the season means you know exactly how much money you have to spend, and you already know how you’re going to allocate it. As you begin making your holiday budget, include travel-related expenses like:
- Plane tickets
- Family gifts
- Baggage fees
- Eating out
- Charitable donations (kick that Scrooge-like spirit to the curb!)
Having a budget will also help you master the art of saying “no” (or better yet, “no, thank you”) during this busy time. It’s easy to get roped into another holiday activity or gift exchange, so knowing your monetary limits will help reduce the temptation to agree to every festivity. We promise you can still have a fun trip!
#3 Make a Pet Plan
Once again, it all comes down to proper planning (you might be sensing a theme here). It’s easy to overlook the four-legged members of your family when you’re busy thinking about the perfect gifts to buy their two-legged counterparts. However, don’t forget to make a plan for your pets while you travel. You have three main options:
- Bringing them with you
- Boarding them at a kennel (or pet hotel, as they prefer)
- Hiring a pet sitter
No matter which option you choose, be sure to give your pets a few holiday treats. Santa visits pets, too! Whether you decide on homemade dog treats or CBD oil for cats, you’ll feel better knowing your pet is being pampered while you pamper yourself half-way across the country.
#4 Give Yourself a Present
You know who else deserves a little holiday pampering? You do! Treating yourself to a holiday pick-me-up is a great way to keep your spirits high (30,000 feet high, perhaps?).
Upgrade your ticket to first-class, indulge in your favorite magazine, or enjoy a boozy eggnog beverage at the hotel bar to make traveling feel like a gift.
Reclaim the Joy of Holiday Travel
If you follow the tips above, your journey might make you feel like a kid on Christmas morning again. The responsibilities of adulthood can make it easy to forget the happiness the holidays are supposed to bring us, so don’t forget:
This season is meant to be celebrated, not stressed over.